Performance Gaps Between Online and Face-to-Face Courses: Differences Across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas
Abstract

Abstract:

Using a dataset containing nearly 500,000 courses taken by over 40,000 community and technical college students in Washington State, this study examines the performance gap between online and face-to-face courses and how the size of that gap differs across student subgroups and academic subject areas. While all types of students in the study suffered decrements in performance in online courses, those with the strongest declines were males, younger students, Black students, and students with lower grade point averages. Online performance gaps were also wider in some academic subject areas than others. After controlling for individual and peer effects, the social sciences and the applied professions (e.g., business, law, and nursing) showed the strongest online performance gaps.